A must-go place in Provence, France
Fifty shades of blue
First post about my trip to South of France!
Cassis consists of a charming small town and a lot of jaw-dropping Calanques (creeks along the coastline of bluish green clear water of the Mediterranean Sea). We did an easy day-trip there, which was only an hour drive from Aix-en-Provence. See the photos for yourself and decide if you want to go someday... I'd say you are a nutter if you don't!
“Qu’a vist Paris e noun Cassis a ren vist.”
“He who has seen Paris and who has not seen Cassis can say … I have seen nothing.”
Frédéric Mistral (1830 – 1914)
Read below for my Must-Go Top 3 spots in this area, tips on when to visit, where to stay, and what to pack. Think again after going through everything till the bottom of this post!
Top 3 spots to See
1. The Calanques
Don't tell people you have been to Cassis if you haven't seen the Calanques. If you are a sight-seeing person, take a boat tour to see either 3, 5, or 9 huge creeks along the coastline. Most of the tour companies don't take bookings, but it is very easy to get tickets as they have boats almost every half an hour. Spare 20-30mins in the queue if you are going in summer time as it is the peak season. The longest ride is about 1.5hrs, an easy non-choppy journey.
If you belong to the outdoorsy active group, rent a kayak or hike up the creeks for an even better view of all the hidden beaches. Dive in freely (as it seems everybody was doing that) and enjoy your day there. Which ever style you prefer to experience Cassis, be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen with you. It is best to visit the tourist office right next to the beach at the harbour front to take a few maps with you.
2. La Route des Crêtes
After feeling the wonders of the clear blue waters swimming with fish and sun tanning in the secret beaches, drive up to the top of the hill via La Route des Crêtes. You will overlook the whole port of Cassis, and see a spectacular view of the ocean. It is a short nice drive with a number of motorcyclists rumbling the windy road.
3. The Port
You will walk past the harbour front when you go to the tourist office or buy tickets for the Calanques boat tour. Stop and sit down at one of those restaurants along the harbour and enjoy a glass of wine. Ending the day there is not a bad idea.
When to Visit
The peak season is during summer time, around June to August, when a lot of local French and other European tourists are touring the Calanques. But that's really the best weather to go - don't worry, it might take 20mins to get a parking spot but what comes after is all worth it. The car park at Avenue de la Viguerie is a relatively less busy one as it is a slightly far drive comparing with other carparks. But it only takes 2mins walk to get to the harbour front via bright and pleasant back alleys with cute little shops along the way.
Where to Stay
1. Go Luxe
Chateau de Cassis looks like an old castle on top of the rock, overlooking Cassis. It has to be the best view location in the area. With 7 bedrooms, it can house 14 guests, along with butler services.
1. Stay Casual
This 2-bedroom apartment at Airbnb is nicely furnished and conveniently located right above the Cassis port. It will only take 3 minutes to walk to the beach and all the restaurants around.
What to Pack
If you are planning to visit Cassis either for a lazy sunbathing session on the beach or going head-on for the hikes to discover the mighty views of the Calanques, you might find these worth bringing with you:
1. Transparent Kayak
This Crystal Explorer is perfect for any clear waters! With the beautiful green waters around Cassis and Marseille, where you can see millions of fish and sea lives, I highly recommend touring around in this transparent kayak. Click to buy here.
2. Reserve your spot with a beach towel
In those busy beaches facing the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, you need to have you spot saved when you dive in. This Reserved Beach Towel is what you need.
3. Classic chic swimwear
Subtle-chic swimsuits are best for traveling, as it matches with cover-ups in any color. OYE is one of my top choices.
4. Floaty cover-up
Bottom cover-ups keeping you cool like this pair here will be a great choice in white, to reflect the light and heat.
5. Water-resistant Face Colour
I don't prefer putting on make-up for outdoor activities but when it comes to photo-taking travel spots, I'd like to at least look presentable for a series of "long-lasting" photos. The basics would be quality face contour and blush for a day-to-night fresh look like this set (photo above) by Dolce & Gabbana. Available at their beauty counter in Harbour City in TST.
6. Waterproof lashes
Dive into the green water without worrying about your mascara! I have been using this GUCCI waterproof mascara for a while now and those smudging under my eyes were completely out of sight. Available at their beauty counters in Sogo Causeway Bay or Facesss Harbour City in TST.
7. Reliable sunscreen
The Southern French/Mediterranean sun can be fierce, and you don't want to get burnt while enjoying the water. Sun Bum is a high-performance sunscreen which is water resistant and greasy. Available with free international shipping here.
8. Waterproof gadgets
Travelling with gadgets are always a headache, especially when you go to wet places like beaches and on a boat. These waterproof cases for iPad and iPhone are must-bring items to protect your photos taken during the trip!
If you wish to know more about my itinerary, personal tips, or other suggestions, feel free to email me or leave a comment below!